TEL AVIV (Dec. 20)
Israeli relatives of accused Soviet Jews have received information by telephone over the week-end Indicating that more than one trial is underway in the Soviet Union involving Jews accused of hijack attempts and other offenses. According to a telephone call from Riga last night 23-year-old Bosis Maftsir, a photographer, was sentenced to five years imprisonment at a secret trial in Riga. A call received by a recent immigrant from Russia in Haifa from a Jewish friend in Moscow claimed that another Jew, Grische Feigin of Riga, was forcibly removed from his home on Friday and taken to a mental institution. Maftsir was said to have been on trial in connection with the alleged hijack plot. His arrest however reportedly took place last Aug. 4. The Leningrad defendants were arrested on June 15. He was said to have been accused of “participation in a Zionist plot and distribution of anti-Soviet material.”
Maftsir was a signatory of petitions to Soviet authorities demanding the right to emigrate to Israel. His home was searched at the time of his arrest and Hebrew books were seized, according to the report.
The Feigin case was apparently unrelated to the hijacking attempt. Feigin. who held the rank of Major In the Soviet armed forces during World War II, was in the news last year when he returned his military decorations in a public protest against the Kremlin’s anti-Jewish policy. His letter to the Soviet authorities was published in the Chicago Tribune last May 7. According to the informant, an ambulance pulled up at Feigin’s house at two p.m. Friday and a group of male nurses forced him into it and took him to “Psychiatric Hospital 15.” The informant said that Feigin was told that “normal people do not return Soviet medals.” There was no immediate explanation as to why the Soviet authorities waited until now to incarcerate Feigin or how the informant was apprised of what Feigin was told.